Being at a dinner a couple weeks ago, a framed edition of the Times edition of Tuesday, April 16th, 1912, caught my eye. As I read through it, I was so shocked by the contents of that tragic day, that I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and quickly dashed down as much as I could before we had to leave. What follows are my notes:
Direct copy from the beginning of the article:
Tuesday, 16th April 1912
WORLD'S GREATEST LINER STRIKES ICEBERG:
RMS Titanic, the world's greatest liner and the pride of the White Star fleet, hit an iceberg and sank yesterday morning in the greatest disaster at sea. Over 1600 passengers and crew perished with the ship.
Titanic was supposed to be unsinkable but she disappeared into the black depths of the Atlantic Ocean within hours of being struck. Lifeboats were launched but only around 800 men, women, and children are believed to have survived.
Those who were able to obtain seats in the lifeboats watched helplessly as the great ship broke in half and plunged to the bottom of the ocean with all its lights blazing and with the band still playing on deck.
Notes from rest of article:
So great was the faith in Titanic's 'unsinkable' qualities that some passengers even had a snowball fight with pieces of ice which the strike had thrown on deck.
The 'Women and Children Only' rule was soon ignored and skirmishes began as some male passengers tried to fight their way onto the boats. One lady had her ribs dislocated when three men jumped into her lifeboat as it was being lowered. One man swam in the icy water after a lifeboat only to have an officer threaten to shoot him if he boarded.
Babies and children were wrapped in towels and sheets and thrown to safety to the women already in the boats. One older boy who tried to get onto one of the boats concealed in his mother's skirts was sent back with the order to 'Be a man'. He is believed to have died.
The lifeboats were not filled efficiently in the chaos. Third class passengers were locked below in order that the first class women could board first, but they rioted and broke through and chaos broke out.
1500 people died. As she went down with a tremendous roar, the decks were thronged with praying and sobbing passengers and the band was still playing the Episcopal hymn Autumn, or Nearer my God to Thee, as Titanic sank below the waves. All ships' senior officers died.